Sept. 11, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Former Indiana softball standout Mariangee Bogado recently competed with Venezuela's national softball team at the Olympic Games in Beijing. IUHoosiers.com caught up with Bogado to find out what the experience was really like.
Bogado was a first team NAIA All-American at Thomas University in 2003 before transferring to Bloomington for the 2004 season. That year, she posted a 16-15 record in the circle with just a 1.62 ERA and fanning 207. The following season, Bogado had her season cut short when a line drive back up the middle in the fourth game of the season broke a bone in her left wrist, keeping her out of the next 30 games. She did come back later in the year to toss her first collegiate no-hitter against Evansville.
So she entered the 2006 season looking to have one of those magical senior seasons that players dream about at the start of the season, and that she did. She registered a 1.52 ERA in 41 appearances and 225 2/3 innings of work while striking out 299 batters on the season, the second-most in a single season in IU history. She finished her career with 569 career strikeouts, the fourth-best career total in school history, and did so in essentially two seasons. Her record of 21-10 paced the Hoosiers on their way to the NCAA Tournament, the first appearance since 1996.
Here's what she had to say about her Olympic experience:
What was it like to be a part of the Opening Ceremonies?
"I feel so lucky just to have been a part of the spectacular opening ceremony; I couldn't have imagined it being better than it was. I felt so special to be one of those athletes to experience that moment because some of the Venezuelan athletes from other sports weren't able to go because they had to compete the next day, so they had to stay at the Olympic Village and watch it on TV. I think that is unfortunate because I believe that every athlete should be at the opening ceremony because each Olympian deserves to be there.
"But the ceremony itself was pretty amazing - the fireworks, the dancers, singers and everything else - it was unbelievable. I started crying as soon I entered the field and saw all those people in the stands and all the athletes. The feeling was unforgettable."
What was it like to get that first win in the Olympics for Venezuelan softball?
"It felt pretty good to be able to pitch in the game and get the first win for my country. It was the first time that an Olympic team from Venezuela get a win in a team sport, which was huge for our country. Everyone back at home was so happy for us."
Were you feeling any pressure as you closed in on the first win?
"Yes, I was feeling a little pressure. First, because Venezuela, as a country, chose the softball team to be the team to carry the flag at the opening ceremony which was a great honor. Only one person, the captain, was able to carry it, but everyone on my team knew that she was representing all of us, and that felt pretty good. Second, all the eyes were on us. All the TV stations, radios, commercials ... but we explained to them that it wasn't going to be easy and we were going to do our best and leave everything we have on the field. I had a lot of pressure because I knew that I was our ace and I had to do good every time I got put out there. I kept the game ball and wrote the date, score and the team we beat and put my name and number, I'm going to put it on my trophy room with my uniforms, the cleats and every gear I wore for each game at the Olympics."
What was the reaction like back in Venezuela when you won?
"The reactions were great. One of the Venezuelan TV stations showed all our games lives, so as soon I got off of the field I had 20 missed calls and lots of text messages. It was good, all my friends wrote me emails, people from everywhere, people from Facebook, and they were so happy my family celebrated for two days straight. Friends told me that they stayed up all night just to watch our games; it was amazing how many people were looking out for us. Some of my friends told me that they didn't go to work just to watch us play. That day Venezuela felt like it was a holiday."
What was the highlight of the experience for you?
"The highlight was when we beat Canada; it was a game that we wanted to win so badly. Everyone on my team cried because we knew that we always had close games against them but only few win and as a team we talked about it that win a year in advance that we were going to beat Canada at the Olympics where the win hurts the most and we did it, so we believe that we accomplish our goal we played perfect. I threw an awesome game I felt so good after that I scream so hard and starting crying when I got that last out which a strikeout was, I believe that was my highlight."
What are you plans now that the Olympics are over?
"My plans are play the Euro Cup in Bollate, Italy and after that I would take a break from softball and be with my husband that I haven't had any chance to be with him this year, we probably take some vacation, he deserves it because he had so much patient I don't think anyone else would it have done it. I will continue to play for the venezuelan national team.
thank you and i hope this works for you."